Orangutan hangs from a tree in the Semenggoh Nature Reserve, Sarawak © R.M. Nunes, Shutterstock
Sarawak’s first forest reserve, established in 1920, was converted into a rehabilitation centre for orangutans, honey bears and hornbills in 1975. ‘Semi-wild’ orangutans inhabit the sanctuary, having graduated up from the infant-oriented Matang Wildlife Centre. Visits revolve around feeding times (half an hour at 08.30 and 15.00). The viewing area is a 1km walk from the entrance, where a series of graphic images warn of the dangers of serious injury from inappropriate behaviour with the orangutans. Such interaction most commonly includes goading and teasing the animals with food, and simply getting too close for comfort. Morning visits can be better, when the apes roam free prior to the afternoon feed. It is not uncommon to run into some on the reserve’s pathways – but keep in mind the previous caution and do not wander alone. The rehabilitation centre is part of the Semenggoh Nature Reserve, whose arboretum and botanical research centre displays fernariums, ethnobotanic and other gardens. Visits to the latter must be booked in advance.